BharatPe Chairman Rajnish Kumar allegedly showed early signs of “wanting control” and to “make money out of BharatPe”, the fintech platform’s former Co-founder and managing director Ashneer Grover has claimed in his book titled ‘Doglapan’.
Grover, who last week said in a tweet that hiring Kumar was his “biggest mistake”, wrote that his exit from BharatPe has been the most publicly covered controversy of the startup world, “more importantly thanks to my own stakeholders, who plotted the most Machiavellian plot to get rid of the creator of the company”.
“Rajnish Kumar: Ex-chairman of State Bank of India. Invited to the board by Madhuri and me, he had shown enough early signs of wanting control and to make money out of BharatPe, which I ignored to my detriment,” Grover said.
“Whether it was getting his ESOPs increased from Rs 2 crore to Rs 3 crore on the first day in office, or asking me to get him free membership to the DLF Golf Course when I held a meeting with Centrum at DLF Golf Links, there were enough and more signs. In the well-executed plot, he played me the longest,” Grover alleged.
Kumar, who earlier served as the SBI Chairman, was yet to react to the claims made in Grover’s book.
In a tweet, Grover had said, “Rajnish Kumar was my biggest hiring mistake”.
“Not only because of what transpired – but bcoz I overlooked data. Under Rajnish as CMD, SBI stock tanked 25 per cent in 3 years (Rs 257 — Rs 192). That’s $8 billion of value destruction. After he left, it went to Rs 570 (up 200 per cent). Data is never dogla!” Grover claimed in his tweet.
Ironically, in October 2021 when BharatPe hired Kumar, Grover had said in an official statement that “it is a matter of great validation and pride for us that one of the biggest stalwarts of the Indian Banking Industry has agreed to join BharatPe as the Chairman of the Board”.
“We look forward to invaluable guidance from Rajnish Kumar as we build India’s largest digital credit provider. We are confident that under his able guidance, BharatPe will attain newer heights and build the best-in-class fintech for the new India,” Grover had said.